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Oceanside grandfather and Sprinter worker dies of COVID-19

Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 21:56:31-05

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Loved ones are mourning the COVID-related death of an Oceanside grandfather who worked security on the Sprinter train.

Matthys Kemp, 67, first became sick around mid-September.

"A cough and fever. Just thought he was coming down with a bug," said daughter Rinali Hill

Not long after, his symptoms got worse. Hill says on September 20th, he ended up in the ER.

"They admitted him. He had double pneumonia and COVID," said Hill.

After two weeks on oxygen, Kemp was placed on a ventilator and sedated. He developed a blood clot in his leg and kidney issues.

On November 1, Kemp, a father of two and grandfather of three, passed away.

"Just glad he's not in pain anymore," said a tearful Hill.

Hill says her father was kind, generous and well-liked.

"He definitely had a huge smile and huge heart for everybody," said Hill.

Hill says Kemp worked with the North County Transit District for the past decade, including the last five years for the contractor that provides security on the Sprinter train.

"He loved his job. Felt like he had a purpose, showing up every day in his vest. Felt like it was his Superman cape. Took pride in getting people to their destinations," said Hill.

Hill isn't sure where her father contracted the virus, but says he was diligent about wearing a mask at work.

His long-held wish, known to his family for years, was to have his body donated to science. Hill says when she reached out to local research facilities, they say it wouldn't be possible because of his COVID-19 diagnosis.

"That’s what he wanted and unfortunately we couldn’t do that for him," said Hill.

Hill is now sharing her father's story, urging others to take precautions.

"Please wear a mask ... This virus can leave behind a family that can’t say goodbye in person, couldn't get hold their hand. This can happen to anybody," said Hill.

Kemp did not have any underlying health issues.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Kemp's family with expenses.

A spokesperson for Kemp's employer, Bombardier Transportation issue this following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the recent loss of one of the members of our services team at North County Transit District. Our thoughts are with the employee’s family and our other personnel at NCTD at this very sad time."

A spokesperson with the North County Transit District released the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened about the news of Mr. Kemp’s passing. Mr. Kemp was an employee of Bombardier Transportation, NCTD’s contractor for rail service. He was a valued member of our team and a true supporter of NCTD’s mission and services to the public. We share our heartfelt condolences for his family on their loss."